Ken works in Central London as a Digital Marketing Executive for a lobbying organisation. A native of Ireland, he has lived in London for six years and started cycling the Quietway 1 route in October 2016. In this post, he tells us about the benefits and experience of cycling to and from work, a distance of around five miles each way, every day.
Ever since moving to London I have felt that cycling was something that other people did. While most of my cyclist friends would regale me with stories of how great it is pedalling around London, I just shrugged it off. If I’m honest, back then I was terrified; London is a hectic place at the best of times, the prospect of commuter traffic was frightening.
It wasn’t until I got a job in Cannon Street that I started to consider the possibility of cycling. My housemate in New Cross is an avid cyclist and my jealousy of his money-saving and fitness due to cycling to work every day got the better of me and I decided to give it a go.
I found that using Citymapper was a lifesaver as it mapped out the quietest route. On my first ride to work my fears quickly subsided. After 35 minutes (only five minutes longer than the quick route) I had reached my destination. The app had helped me avoid all major traffic by directing me down Quietway 1, a new cycle route that avoids the busy main roads.
Quietway 1 has a completely new section of purpose-built cycling path and links through housing estates. I was expecting to reach traffic but I didn’t until London Bridge, at which point I walked.
The benefits of cycling
My confidence has improved significantly since that first ride in October; I’ve started cycling on main roads and even over London Bridge (something I genuinely never thought I’d see myself doing). Having a Quietway route to cycle on has been a turning point for me as it has meant I no longer worry about traffic and it's helped me realise that London is actually a great city to cycle in.
Cycling regularly has been a revelation; not only have I lost weight, but I’m saving about £80 a month and feeling much fitter.
I believe that if I can start cycling anyone can. Making the change to cycling is something I recommend to everyone. Take it from me, you’ll be delighted when you do.